GARDAÍ ARE INVESTIGATING claims that a TD’s assistant removed ‘thousands’ of copies of a local Dublin newspaper from shops after the paper ran a negative story about the TD in question.
The Lucan Gazette says it has CCTV images which show an assistant to Fine Gael TD Derek Keating removing ‘substantial’ numbers of copies of the free newspaper from shops in the Lucan area of west Dublin.
Keating has said that the assistant had not acted with his knowledge or consent.
Dublin Gazette Newspapers, which runs the Lucan Gazette, said its distribution staff believed that more than 3,000 copies of the paper were removed from shops in the space of less than 24 hours.
The paper said it would usually see several hundreds copies of the paper picked up from shops between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, but the distributor noticed a massive leap in the number of copies taken last week and began to investigate why it had happened.
The paper had run a front page story in which the principal of a local school had criticised Keating for claiming to have led a campaign for an extension to the school. Tomas O Dulaing, the principal of Griffeen Valley Educate Together school, said Keating had had ‘absolutely nothing’ to do with the school’s extension, but had put out a leaflet claiming he had delivered the development for the area.
A spokesperson for the newspaper said the removal of thousands of copies of the paper was an attempt to jeopardise livelihoods. He said that the company has sought legal advice and reported the matter to the Gardaí.
“We will take whatever steps are necessary to protect our brand, the people who read the paper and the people who spend money advertising with us,” said Michael McGovern, the managing director of Dublin Gazette Newspapers.
He said that that the company is determined to see that someone is held to account for the removal of the papers.
“The Gazette is a group of eight papers with a weekly print-run of over 40,000. We employ 22 people as well as freelance and agency workers.
That someone would attempt to jeopardise their livelihoods in these times is particularly shocking.
Keating told the Lucan Gazette that he was holding an internal investigation into the allegations and said that his assistant had not acted with his knowledge or consent.
“Gardaí at Lucan are investigating the alleged theft of newspapers from a number of shops in the Lucan area during the past week,” a Garda spokesperson told TheJournal.ie this evening. “Investigations are continuing.”
Derek Keating’s office did not return calls requesting a comment.